Deer in city safe for now
Deer will run freely in Fargo for at least another two months. The City Commission on Monday accepted a letter of concern signed by 118 north Fargo residents but took no action on their request to control the urban deer population through hunting...
Deer will run freely in Fargo for at least another two months.
The City Commission on Monday accepted a letter of concern signed by 118 north Fargo residents but took no action on their request to control the urban deer population through hunting or other means.
Instead, commissioners voted unanimously to have city staff study the issue and return with recommendations in four weeks.
A hunting season within city limits would require a change in city ordinance, which would take at least another month.
Billy Nustad, who lives near the Red River in north Fargo and organized the petition, told commissioners he has noticed a growing number of deer in his neighborhood in the past three to five years. The animals are causing property damage by eating plants and leaving droppings in yards, he said.
The deer also raise public safety concerns, Nustad said, citing an incident last week in Mankato, Minn., in which a buck crashed through a classroom window at an elementary school and died, leaving a bloody trail. No one was injured.
"That could easily be a situation in Fargo because of the number of deer we see running around, especially in our neighborhood," Nustad said.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department officials have said they will help Fargo establish a controlled bowhunting program along the Red River if the city decides to go that route.
Nustad said Minneapolis and Bismarck have successful bowhunting programs to control their deer populations. Since Bismarck started its program in 1987, bowhunters have killed 765 deer in three designated areas of cityowned land.
However, Fargo City Commissioner Tim Mahoney - serving in his first meeting on the commission - said Bismarck has a different greenway situation than Fargo.
"We have to study it and see what the best way to handle it is so we don't have any accidents," he said.
South Fargo resident Marv Heaton said deer aren't the only problem. Wild turkeys have created traffic issues, he said.
No one attending Monday's meeting spoke out against hunting deer within city limits, but there is opposition, Mayor Bruce Furness said.
"I can tell you already, we have polarization in the community on this issue no mat ter what we do," he said. North Dakota's bowhunt ing season ends Jan. 1. "I'd hate to have this prob lem put off for another year, Nustad said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528